According to the Pew Center, the facts in 2013:
- 90% of Millennials take part in Christmas. (Good!)
- 40% do so mainly as a religious holiday. (Good, but not so good if “quantity” means “quality.”)
- 43% celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. (No good, but it provides a starting point for evangelization.)
- 26% of Millennials do not they believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin. (Not good. Worse yet, this does not mean that 74% of Millennials believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin.)
Evangelist Frank Powell offers 10 reasons to explain this phenomenon. Among Millennials:
- there is a strong resistance to change;
- a compelling vision is lacking or non-existent;
- mediocrity is the expectation;
- there is a paternalistic approach to leading Millennials;
- there is a pervasive inner-focused mentality;
- transparency and authenticity are not high values;
- mentoring is not important;
- culture is viewed as the enemy;
- community is not valued; and,
- the Church is a source of division and not unity.
Agree or disagree with one, some, or all of those 10 reasons, the data indicate clearly that many Millennials are less interested in belonging to, participating actively in, and adhering to the tenets of an organized religion than their parents and grandparents were.
One mistake would be to interpret those data to mean that Millennials don’t possess the same spiritual, moral, and religious impulses of their parents and grandparents. The fact may be that Millennials are seeking answers to those impulses in transient novelties rather than in timeless wisdom.
In this regard, Powell observes, “some churches and leaders don’t see the value of changing to reach this generation.” Then, Powell asserts: “Once they realize this mentality is wrong it will be too late,” meaning, “too late...for the Church.”
There are many possible explanations, of course. A highly consumeristic, secularized, and materialistic culture arguably being the most prominent of those explanations.
Hopefully, once Millennials realize that this present generation’s mentality is wrong, it won’t be too late for them, meaning “never having lived the purpose and experienced the joy for which God created them.” But, the spiritual, moral, and religious wreckage between today’s “here” and some distant tomorrow’s “there” is likely to be tremendous...sort of like a Hallmark movie without the happy ending.
The aphorism states: "The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope." Hope is discovered in the timeless wisdom of preceding generations--in Scripture and Church teaching--not in the novelties of any present generation.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the sources cited in this post, click on the following links: